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Constitution of Algeria (1996) – 1: General Provisions

Article 1  [Democracy, Republic]

Algeria is a People’s Democratic Republic. It is one and indivisible.

Article 2  [State Religion]

Islam is the religion of the State.

Article 3  [Language]

Arabic is the national and official language.

Article 4  [Capital]

The capital of the Republic is Algiers.

Article 5  [Flag, Seal, Anthem]

The national flag, the State seal and the national anthem are defined by the law.

Article 6  [Popular Sovereignty]

(1) The People are the source of any power.

(2) The national sovereignty belongs exclusively to the People.

Article 7  [Constituent Power, Referendum]

(1) The constituent power belongs to the People.

(2) The People exercise their sovereignty through institutions they set up.

(3) The People exercise it by means of referendum and through the elected representatives.

(4) The President of the Republic may resort directly to the expression of the People’s will.

Article 8  [Institutional Objectives]

The People set up institutions having as objectives:

- the safeguard and consolidation of the national independence;

- the safeguard and consolidation of the national identity and unity;

- the protection of fundamental liberties of the citizen and the social and cultural progress of the Nation;

- the suppression of the exploitation of man by man;

- the protection of the national economy from any form of embezzlement or misappropriation, illegitimate monopolizing or seizure.

Article 9  [Institutional Prohibitions]

The institutions are not allowed:

- feudal, regionalist and nepotic practices;

- setting up exploitation relationships and dependence links;

- practices that are contrary to the Islamic ethics and to the values of the November Revolution.

Article 10  [Representation]

(1) The People choose freely their representatives.

(2) The representation of the People has no limits except those defined by the Constitution and the electoral law.

Article 11  [Legitimacy, Motto, Purpose]

(1) The State takes its legitimacy and its raison d’etre from the People’s will.

(2) Its motto is “By the People and for the People”.

(3) It is exclusively for the service of the People.

Article 12  [Sovereignty]

(1) The sovereignty of the State is exercised on its terrestrial space, its air space, and its waters.

(2) The State also exercises its sovereign right established by the international law on any of its various areas of the maritime space to which they belong.

Article 13  [Territory]

In any circumstances should a part of the national territory be abandoned or alienated.

Article 14  [State Principles]

(1) The State is based on the principles of democratic organization and of social justice.

(2) The elected Assembly is the framework in which is expressed the people’s will and the control of the public authorities is exercised.

Article 15  [Communes]

(1) The territorial collectivities of the State are the “Commune” and the “Wilaya”.

(2) The “Commune” is the basic collectivity.

Article 16  [Decentralization]

The elected assembly represents the basis of decentralization and a place of the citizens’ participation in the management of public affairs.

Article 17  [Public Property]

(1) Public property belongs to the national collectivity.

(2) It includes the underground, the mines and quarries, the natural resources of energy, the mineral, natural and living resources in the various national maritime areas, waters and forests.

(3) It also includes rail, maritime and air transport, the mail and telecommunications as well as other properties defined by the law.

Article 18  [National Properties]

(1) The national properties are defined by the law.

(2) They include public and private properties of the State, the “Wilaya” and the “Commune”.

(3) The management of the national properties is carried out in accordance with the law.

Article 19  [External Trade]

(1) The organization of external trade is the domain of the State only.

(2) The law defines the conditions and control of external trade.

Article 20  [Expropriation]

(1) Expropriation can be carried out only within the framework of the law.

(2) It gives right to a prior, just and fair compensation.

Article 21  [Public Interest]

The functions in the State institutions should neither be a source of wealth nor a means of being for the service of private interests.

Article 22  [Abuse of Power]

Power abuse is repressed by the law.

Article 23  [Impartiality]

The Administration’s impartiality is guaranteed by the law.

Article 24  [Security, Protection Abroad]

The State is responsible for the security of persons and properties. It ensures the protection of every citizen abroad.

Article 25  [Army]

(1) The enhancement and the development of the defense capacity of the Nation are organized within the National People’s Army.

(2) The permanent task of the National People’s Army is to safeguard the national independence and to defend the national sovereignty.

(3) It ensures the defense of the country’s unity and the territorial integrity as well as the protection of its terrestrial and air space, and the various areas of its maritime space.

Article 26  [War]

(1) Algeria does not resort to war in order to undermine the legitimate sovereignty and the freedom of other peoples.

(2) It puts forth its efforts to settle international disputes through peaceful means.

Article 27  [Liberation, Self-Determination]

Algeria associates itself with all the peoples fighting for their political and economic liberation, for the right of self determination and against any racial discrimination.

Article 28  [International Cooperation]

Algeria works for the reinforcement of international cooperation and to the development of friendly relations among States, on equal basis, mutual interest and non interference in the internal affairs. It endorses the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter.

Article 29  [Equality Before the Law, No Discrimination]

All citizens are equal before the law. No discrimination shall prevail because of bind, race, sex, opinion or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.

Article 30  [Citizenship]

(1) The Algerian nationality is defined by the law.

(2) Conditions for acquiring, keeping, losing or forfeiture of the Algerian nationality are defined by the law.

Article 31  [Equality]

The aim of the institutions is to ensure equality of rights and duties of all citizens, men and women, by removing the obstacles which hinder the progress of human beings and impede the effective participation of all in the political, economic, social and cultural life.

Article 32  [Fundamental Rights and Liberties]

The fundamental human and citizen’s rights and liberties are guaranteed. They are a common heritage of all Algerians, men and women, whose duty is to transmit it from generation to another in order to preserve it and keep it inviolable.

Article 33  [Protection of Rights]

Individual or associative defense of the fundamental human rights and individual and collective liberties is guaranteed.

Article 34  [Personal Integrity, Human Dignity]

(1) The State guarantees the inviolability of the human entity.

(2) Any form of physical or moral violence or breach of dignity is forbidden.

Article 35  [Repression of Infringements]

Infringements committed against rights and libel ties and violations of physical or moral integrity of a human being are repressed by the law.

Article 36  [Creed, Opinion]

Freedom of creed and opinion is inviolable.

Article 37  [Trade, Industry]

Freedom of trade and industry is guaranteed, it is carried out within the framework of the law.

Article 38  [Intellectual, Artistic, Scientific Innovation, Copyright]

(1) Freedom of intellectual, artistic and scientific innovation is guaranteed to the citizen.

(2) Copyrights are protected by the law.

(3) The seizure of any publication, recording or any other means of communication acid information can only be done in pursuance of a warrant.

Article 39  [Privacy, Secrecy of Communication]

(1) The private life and the honour of the citizen are inviolable and protected by the law.

(2) The secrecy of private correspondence and communication, in any form, is guaranteed.

Article 40  [Home]

The State guarantees home inviolability. No thorough search can be allowed unless in pursuance of the law and in compliance with the latter. The thorough search can only be in pursuance of a search warrant emanating from the competent judicial authority.

Article 41  [Expression, Association, Meeting]

Freedom of expression, association and meeting are guaranteed to the citizen.

Article 42  [Political Parties, Restrictions]

(1) The right to create political parties is recognized and guaranteed.

(2) However, this right cannot be used to violate the fundamental liberties, the fundamental values and components of the national identity, the national unity, the security and the integrity of the national territory, the independence of the country and the People’s sovereignty as well as the democratic and Republican nature of the State.

(3) In respect to the provisions of the present Constitution, the political parties cannot be founded on religious, linguistic, racial, sex, corporatist or regional basis. The political parties cannot resort to partisan propaganda on the elements mentioned in the previous paragraph.

(4) Any obedience, in any form of the political parties to foreign interests or parties is forbidden.

(5) No political party can resort to any form of any nature of violence or constraint.

(6) Other obligations and duties are prescribed by the law.

Article 43  [Associations]

(1) The right to create associations is guaranteed.

(2) The State encourages the development of associative movement.

(3) The law defines the conditions and clauses of the creation of associations.

Article 44  [Moving, Dwelling, Entry, Exit]

(1) Any citizen enjoying his civil and political rights has the right to choose freely his place of dwelling and to move on the national territory.

(2) The right of entry and exit from the national territory is guaranteed.

Article 45  [Innocence]

Any person is presumed not guilty until his culpability is established by a regular jurisdiction with all the guarantees required by the law.

Article 46  [nulla poena sine lege]

None is guilty unless it is in accordance with a promulgated law prior to the incriminated action.

Article 47  [Rule of Law]

None can be pursued, arrested or detained unless within the cases defined by the law and in accordance with the forms prescribed.

Article 48  [Arrest, Custody]

(1) In the field of penal investigation, custody is under judiciary control and cannot exceed forty-eight (48) hours.

(2) The person held in custody has the right to be immediately in contact with his family.

(3) The extension of the period of custody can occur, exceptionally, only within the conditions established by the law.

(4) At the expiry of the period of custody, it is compulsory to proceed to a medical examination of the person detained if this latter asks for it, and in any cases, this person is informed of this right.

Article 49  [Miscarriage of Justice]

Miscarriage of justice leads to compensation by the State. The law determines the conditions and modes of compensation.

Article 50  [Electora Rights]

Any citizen fulfilling the legal conditions can elect and be elected.

Article 51  [Equal Access to Offices]

Equal access to functions and positions in the State is guaranteed to all citizens without any other conditions except those defined by the law.

Article 52  [Property]

(1) Private property is guaranteed.

(2) The right to inherit is guaranteed.

(3) The “Wakf” properties and the foundations are recognized; their intended purpose is protected by the law.

Article 53  [Education]

(1) The right for education is guaranteed. Education is free within the conditions defined by the law.

(2) Fundamental education is compulsory.

(3) The State organizes the educational system.

(4) The State ensures the equal access to education and professional training.

Article 54  [Healthcare]

(1) All citizens have the right for the protection of their health.

(2) The State ensures the prevention and the fight of endemics and epidemics.

Article 55  [Work]

(1) All citizens have right for work.

(2) The right for protection security and hygiene at work is guaranteed by the law.

(3) The right to rest is guaranteed; the law defines the relevant clauses.

Article 56  [Unions]

The trade union right is recognized to all citizens.

Article 57  [Strike]

(1) The right to strike is recognized; it is carried out within the framework of the law.

(2) The law may forbid or limit the strike in the field of national defense and security or in any public service or activity of vital interest for the community.

Article 58  [Family]

The family gains protection from the State and the society.

Article 59  [Youths]

The living conditions of the citizens under the age of working or those unable or can never be able to work are guaranteed.

Article 60  [Duty to Obey Laws]

(1) Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

(2) Every person should abide by the Constitution and comply with the laws of the Republic.

Article 61  [Duty to Protect Independence]

(1) The duty of every citizen is to protect and safeguard the independence of the country and the integrity of its national territory as well as all the symbols of the State.

(2) Treason, spying, obedience to the enemy as well as all the infringements committed against the State security are severely repressed by the law.

Article 62  [Civil Duties]

(1) Every citizen should, loyally, fulfill his obligations towards the national community.

(2) The commitment of every citizen towards the Mother Country and the obligation to contribute to its defense are sacred and permanent duties.

(3) The State guarantees the respect of the symbols of the Revolution, the memory of the “chouhada” and the dignity of their rightfuls, and the “moudjahidine”.

Article 63  [Duty to Respect Rights]

All the individual liberties are carried out within the respect of the rights of others recognized by the Constitution, in particular, the respect of the right for honour, intimacy and the protection of the family, the youth and childhood.

Article 64  [Taxes]

(1) The citizens are equals before the taxes.

(2) Everyone should participate in financing the public expenses, in accordance with his contributory capacity,

(3) No taxes can be laid down unless in accordance with the law.

(4) No tax, contribution or duty of any nature can be laid down with a retrospective effect.

Article 65  [Parents]

The law sanctions the duty of parents in the education and protection of their children as well as the duty of the children in helping and assisting their parents.

Article 66  [Duty to Protect Public Property]

The duty of every citizen is to protect the public property and the interests of the national community and to respect the property of others.

Article 67  [Rights of Foreigners]

Any foreigner being legally on the national territory enjoys the protection of his person and his properties by the law.

Article 68  [Extradition]

None can be extradited unless in accordance and in implementation of the extradition law.

Article 69  [Political Refugees, Asylum]

In no case, a political refugee having legally the right of asylum can be delivered or extradited.

Next: Chapter 2 – Organization of Powers

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